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Former England midfielder Joe Cole signs with Aston Villa on free transfer

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BIRMINGHAM, England - Former England midfielder Joe Cole signed a two-year deal with Aston Villa on Tuesday, giving him a chance to prolong his career with another Premier League club.

The 32-year-old Cole joined the Birmingham club on a free transfer after being released by West Ham at the end of the season.

"I'm as excited now as I was as a 16-year-old lad going into my first season with West Ham," said Cole, who won three Premier League titles with Chelsea and earned 56 caps for England.

Cole played a small part for the Hammers during his 18-month stint at the east London club. His last Premier League start was in a 3-3 draw against West Bromwich Albion in December. Prior to his return to West Ham, he had a successful loan spell at Lille after struggling to reignite his career with Liverpool in 2010.

"I've been lucky enough to have a really good career but there's still a lot more I want to achieve," Cole said. "This is a massive club and there's a massive opportunity for the club to push on. That was the main factor."

Cole is the second major signing this summer for manager Paul Lambert, who is trying to bolster a squad that has been on the verge of relegation the past two seasons. Former Arsenal defender Philippe Senderos joined Villa last week.

Cole expects to play in central midfield for Villa, where he hopes help strikers Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann boost their production.

"Having those fast players in attack and around me, I feel like I can supply them with the bullets and get them the ball in the final third," he said.

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